Tag Archives: Future

Mars, here be water!

The Utopia Planitia shipyards above Mars in the 24th century.

According to this article, there is now definitive proof that Mars once contained flowing water. We’ve suspected for years that Mars once harbored liquid water on its surface, a good indication life may have once been found on our near planetary neighbor. Now we know for sure that it definitely did have liquid water. What does this mean for us? Might we, as the picture above, eventually terraform and colonize Mars and build something like a Starfleet Presidio-class space station in orbit over it? My question is whether we have the right to do so. I think the answer depends on whether there is any life on Mars today. If there is, we would more than likely destroy it by terraforming Mars’ environment to better suit ourselves. But then we run into a bit of a conundrum, because don’t we as a species have a right to propagate and ensure our survival? Right now we are confined to Earth, and as the saying goes, we’ve got all our eggs in one basket. What is the measure by which we determine how possible alien life on Mars compares to the billions of humans of Earth?

Perhaps if NASA develops its warp drive in the next few decades such a terraforming and colonization of Mars would be more likely, and such an academic question will become more existential.

Future Imperfect

Just as in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s series finale, I sometimes feel as though our own society is racing towards collapse. I see man’s inhumanity towards man, politicians spouting the same old rhetoric, petty acts of vandalism and destruction, and so much ill-will towards other groups, whether those groups be different religiously, ethnically, racially, or whatnot.

But as a lover of all things historical, I take the moment to look at our world and compare it to what it was like even a century ago, and despite all our problems plaguing us today, from the economy, to racial and national tensions, to ecological stresses, we are better off than we were. We do live better and longer lives, with more opportunities than ever before to achieve our dreams both large and small.

It’s difficult sometimes to be positive, but it’s important in times of difficulty to be mindful of all we do have and all we might yet achieve, both individually and as a society. We can change the world for the better. We already have. We just have to remind ourselves of that every now and then.

So here’s to a future perfect!

Here’s a new starship, to boot:

The Krenim, Masters of Time

A.K.A. The Jerk dad from That 70s Show.

The Krenim were featured in two Voyager episodes titled, “Year of Hell”. In particular, the shows focused on Annorax (see picture above), and his centuries long quest to restore his wife to life. As it turns out, Annorax has spent two centuries manipulating time, wiping out entire civilizations and species, all in an attempt to restore his wife to life (he accidentally wiped her out of existence before). I won’t spoil how it ends for you, though you can probably guess. Still, it’s an interesting dilemma many of us have faced in our lives. How many times have we wished we could go back in time and erase some mistake we have made, or how many times have we thought back, “What if I had chosen the other path?” While I don’t advocate a complete disregard of paths we may have chosen, I think it’s important to remember that all our experiences (both good and bad) have helped shape who we are now, and that by focusing on the here and now, on the present moment, we can make our lives better. Too often we, like Annorax, are stuck in the past, or are too caught up in what might happen in the future. In times like that, we end up not enjoying the life we have now, in this moment. All we have is the now, and we should live that present moment, for it will never come again.

Below is just one kind of starship used by the Krenim:

Hostile aliens

No, I’m not talking about U.S. border issues, though perhaps in a way I am, especially after you read this post. I’m talking about the aliens that are out to get us. They’re here to destroy Earth or enslave humanity, or use human beings as food, what have you. One of the enduring traits Star Trek has in abundance is the belief that there’s always a brighter future out there, just waiting for us to grasp. Yes, we may run into some terrible difficulties along the way, but that’s par for the course, eventually we will find our own way and be at peace with not only our enemies, but ourselves. We will find a way to do no harm. My wife, the yogini (I believe that’s the right term!) would subscribe to this perspective.

So today let’s discuss the Romulans, Klingons, and Talarians. What do these three Star Trek alien species all have in common? They’ve all attacked humanity in some way, shape, or form. They are also all species from whom that initial conflict has resulted from misunderstanding and lack of communication. Eventually (in some cases centuries’ worth of time), that misunderstanding and lack of communication was rectified. It took time, and a communicative effort to truly understand these alien cultures, before humanity could come to an accord with them. Here’s where the hope that pervades Star Trek’s philosophy comes in, for the hope is that though someone or many someones are our enemy now does not mean they will be our enemy in the future. The hope is that if we come to know our enemy, to understand them, by communicating with them, by reaching out to them, they will come to know and understand us as well.

We fear that which we do not understand, and one little nugget of wisdom we can take from Star Trek is that if human beings can come to understand truly alien species, then we can certainly come to understand ourselves, in all our different forms. Eventually.

I hope.

So below you will find some starships for the aforementioned aliens:

Starships and Aliens galore!

The Xindi-Insectoids are human-sized sentient bugs that have a lifespan of a dozen years. I’m no scientist, but wouldn’t a bug with an exoskeleton that big effectively be unable to move due to the weight of that same exoskeleton? Maybe because it’s an alien bug person it’s got an ultralight exoskeleton. Oh well, check out their Xindi-Insectoid Warship that they use to attack the poor humans of the 22nd century in their woefully inadequate United Earth NC-class.

Just so the giant space bugs don’t have all the fun, by the 24th century we have the Zalkonians using their Zalkonian Warship to asphyxiate people with their choking beam. That’s right, it’s a beam that can choke you from thousands of kilometers away inside your own space ship. I guess that makes sense, I mean, why incinerate someone on their fancy ship with your beams of amplified light when you can just choke them to death and then walk on board their ship and take all their stuff?

Lastly we have the Cardassians (think people with scaly skin and the pallor of a wax sculpture) and their semi-sentient (or is that consciousCardassian ATR-4107 missile.

Robot dreams and the Nature of Consciousness

It’s funny the kind of conversations you can have when tired and on a caffeine high driving down the Interstate at half past 10 at night. My wife and I were discussing her belief that humanity returning to its natural roots, whether in the consumption of organic matter (not that highly-processed stuff so many of us eat now) or a life with less reliance on technology, would lead to a greater spiritual connection with God.

We soon began discussing how our advancing medical technology may soon make it possible for humanity to replace failing organs with lab-grown substitutes or with artificial metal or plastic replacements. We soon began discussing whether a human whose memory is transferred to a machine would truly be considered human. This led to a question many have pondered before us; what does it mean to be human? Would a machine with all the memories, hopes, dreams, emotions, and foibles of a human being actually be a human being, or would it simply be a fancy copy? Can machines like Data from Star Trek, that exhibit awareness of their surroundings, demonstrate a desire for self-preservation, strive to better themselves, and to create more of their own kind, actually be conscious beings? Perhaps they are merely sophisticated machines, and that is all they are. How can we even measure consciousness when we cannot even define it for ourselves? Who’s to say that life and consciousness as we know it on Earth is the only kind that there is in this vast universe?

We discussed more than just these topics on our drive, including but not limited to: Organic machines, transferring human consciousness remotely to organic machines/machines to explore hostile environments, etc. But those are topics for another day!